Last weekend, my spouse and I attended a very interesting auction. The auction was advertised as “Apocalypse Prepper Estate Auction.” It listed a large gun collection, large quantity of ammo, tools, household items, and four vehicles. The advertisement caught my eye, so off we went. We arrived in time to preview some of the items. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I stood there thinking it seemed as if he had used SurvivalBlog.com as a checklist. He had purchased every item ever mentioned in this blog. Then, I had to chuckle as I spotted a table with a dozen copies of Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles! Yes, he must have been a reader. We found a seat and prepared to see what kinds of deals we would be able to score and to people watch. Auctions can be very interesting entertainment at times. However, this one proved to not just be entertainment but an opportunity to learn some very important prepper lessons.
As the start of the auction approached, I looked around and saw well over 150 people at this auction. The auctioneer started the event by giving a few details of the estate. The auction was the estate of a 66 year old man who had recently and unexpectedly died. The family of the man asked the auctioneer to clean out the house. When the auctioneer arrived at the very small house, which was around 900 square feert, he found plastic totes stacked floor to ceiling, row after row, with just a path available through the center of the house. The auctioneer stated they found over 350 totes in the house along with a ton of food. The auctioneer threw out all the canned goods, wheat, et cetera and sorted through the items in the totes.
We stayed at the auction for over five hours, and at that time there were still enough items left to auction that it probably went for at least another hour to an hour and a half. They auctioned well over 100 guns– everything from your basic .22 pistol to AK47 to a Mosburg rifle. It was a prepper’s dream. There were tens of thousands of rounds of ammo; at least half of the five hours were devoted to auctioning the ammo! He had a dozen military surplus, camo colored rucksack/backpack type items that would be great bug out bags. He had several Kevlar vests, pressure cookers, a dozen geiger counters, a couple of expensive night vision scopes, at least two dozen gas mask kits, along with an entire tote of gas mask filters! He had hundreds of knives. There were so many knives that they auctioned them by the boxful. There were even Berkey water filters and Mountain House canned emergency food. There were so many items it would take me paragraphs and paragraphs to name it all.
The auction started at 10am, and they auctioned some of the household items first, like brand new TVs. Then at noon, they auctioned the vehicles. After the vehicles sold, more than half the audience got up and left! What lesson we can take from this is that people still don’t get it! They really weren’t interested in the prepper items. People were going crazy bidding up TVs, even paying over retail, but Geiger counters went for $15-$20! People obviously don’t see the economic situation for what it really is, when items such as TVs and cars are the most important/best selling items at an auction full of prepper items. The guns sold for under retail, most of them selling for $100-$200. There was even a beautiful night vision scope that had probably been purchased for over $1000 that sold for less than $400. At the end of five hours, most of the crowd was gone and items were being sold by the box, with each box going for $10-15. My spouse and I were able to pick up several good items for great deals.
As we drove home, I pondered some of the other lessons I learned that day. Not only did the audience at the auction not get the times and opportunity, but neither did this man’s family or the man himself. His family didn’t get it, since they auctioned off every single thing in the house. I am willing to bet that some day soon they may think this relative wasn’t so crazy after all and that they should have kept some of these items!
Also, this poor man whose entire life was being auctioned off, didn’t get it either. How can I say that? Well, he thought he was prepared for SHTF, but he wasn’t really prepared at all. All these prepper items were stacked floor to ceiling in row after row of totes. There was no way in an actual emergency he could have retrieved any of these items he needed in order to use them. Also, every single one of these items was brand new and had never been used. The bug out bags were empty with price tags still on them. The pressure cookers were all still sealed up in the box. The Geiger counters had never been out of their boxes. The gas masks were sealed in plastic bags, and the guns had never, ever been fired! This man was not a prepper at all. He was more like a hoarder who had used SurvivalBlog for his shopping list.
What good is it to have over a hundred guns and tens of thousands rounds of ammo if you have never practiced with any of them? If this man had lived to see SHTF he would have never survived. He believed in things and not in skills. Skills are what will save us in a true SHTF. You can’t just have cans of seeds and never have tried to plant a garden. You can’t have hundreds of guns and never have shot one. What good are gas masks, if you have never opened it up to see if you know how to put it on and if it is a good fit?
There are times I feel I am not prepared for what may be coming because I don’t have the money to purchase all the items I think I need, but this auction proved I am more prepared than I think. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and I have been canning and dehydrating for a decade. I have kept chickens and other animals for many years and know how to care for them, and I have been shooting guns since I was 12 years old. I may not have hundreds of guns or dozens of Geiger counters, but I am a real prepper, and I am much more prepared and ready for SHTF than this poor man who had spent well over six figures on “things” he never knew how to use.
Things are nice, but develop your skills people! They are what will save you and your family.